A debate/discussion about whether Christianity perpetrates racism is ongoing within a segment of the African-American community. Questions raised by that debate/discussion are understandable and deserve analysis. Much of the controversy stems from the negative connotations the larger society associates with the term “black” and the positive ways in which “white” is presented. However, to connect those associations to skin color is wrong. As an in-depth study of Scripture shows, it is also wrong to use Christian Scripture to justify racial discrimination.
White Supremacists assert that black is inferior to white; therefore justifying racial segregation and subjugation.. They often cite Christian Scripture to prove their theory. However, a close examination of Scripture does not support racial superiority. In fact, the passages of Scripture often referred to by Supremacists have absolutely nothing to do with skin color. Nevertheless, they persist in inappropriately citing Scripture to explain and justify racism.
Racial superiority theories are etiological and highlight the degree to which humans seek to explain differences and to use those differences to create a false sense of superiority for some and a position of subjugation for others. Ignorant, malicious, and narrow-minded people misappropriate Scripture to validate: institutionalized racism, annihilation, and other forms of abuse. Their corrupt thoughts manifested in brutal, demeaning, and fatal behaviors are antithetical to Christian Scripture. Therefore, it is unfair to blame Christianity for the deviant representation of the tradition by a highly visible, vocal, and ill-informed minority.
As previously stated, an authentic examination of Scripture does not support the theory of racial superiority (see my exegesis of Paul’s Letter to Philemon for a perspective on Christian thought about slavery). To the contrary, racial superiority.is a strictly human concept. Humans have a history of corrupting even the most laudable ideals, philosophies, and theologies to gain and maintain the upper hand on fellow humans. Misquoting Scripture to segregate based upon skin color is just one of the myriad ways some seek to accomplish those goals.